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Luridis

The Weak & Unimagined Undead in Modern RPGs

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Or, since ghosts are pretty much souls, and this game revolves around a lot of soul lore, exercising ghosts/spirits could just be like Pokemon!

 

"Now! Hit 'em with a Soul-ke-ball!"

"CreepyDisembodiedVoiceMon! I CHOOSE YOU!!!"  8)

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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No.  :getlost:


http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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No.  :getlost:

 

Curses! I've been saving up thought-power all YEAR for that plan! It was to be my masterpiece! Now I am ruined! RUINED I say! T_T

 

(We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.)


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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No.  :getlost:

 

Curses! I've been saving up thought-power all YEAR for that plan! It was to be my masterpiece! Now I am ruined! RUINED I say! T_T

 

(We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.)

 

How do you exercise ghosts/spirits? Is there like a workout routine for the undead like Zombie Zumba or something?


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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No.  :getlost:

 

Curses! I've been saving up thought-power all YEAR for that plan! It was to be my masterpiece! Now I am ruined! RUINED I say! T_T

 

(We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.)

 

How do you exercise ghosts/spirits? Is there like a workout routine for the undead like Zombie Zumba or something?

 

I hear pilates work wonders.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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How do you exercise ghosts/spirits? Is there like a workout routine for the undead like Zombie Zumba or something?

*shrug*. If I had to guess, maybe on 1-counts they de-manifest, and on 2-counts they re-manifest. Or, you know, there's the whole poltergeist moving of objects thing, so maybe they just lift heavy objects a number of times in succession, much like living folk at the gym?

 

However they do it, I bet they get into... scary-good shape. 8)

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I would like it if the ghosts, zombies etc provoked existential crisis in the players party. Certain soul conditions could provoke scares such as shattering or leaching of spirit. Contact with the undead could even change personality and induce visions and hallucinations. Lots of things game designers could do.

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The most disgusting zombies I ever saw in a video game were gutted rabbits from "Phantasy Star II". It just needs to be looked at! The way they sit and move, their methods of attack (and the fact that they are rabbits' corpses, not humans') -- all make them truly frightening.

 

And in power department: I heard undead/constructs in "Dwarf Fortress" are quite innovative (read: almost indestructible). How you think you can defeat "skeleton"? I mean, there is no physical matter holding its bones together. Even if it's limb is torn apart nothing prevents it from re-attaching even on it's own. The only way to deal with such thing is to completely disintegrate it's "body" (and even after that force animating it can reconstruct the "body"). So special means (not necessarily weapons) are mandatory.

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How you think you can defeat "skeleton"? I mean, there is no physical matter holding its bones together. Even if it's limb is torn apart nothing prevents it from re-attaching even on it's own. The only way to deal with such thing is to completely disintegrate it's "body" (and even after that force animating it can reconstruct the "body"). So special means (not necessarily weapons) are mandatory.

Maybe the spirit is tied to is old body as some kind of echo. And maybe it reacts to injuries as it would react as if it was still alive, so losing an arm would make that arm be severed from the spirit link and go inert. Not all skeletons would need to be like that but different types are more than possible.

 

Nothing like to read All Flesh Must Be Eaten to get a glimpse of all kind of new zombies that could be used (like bowels going on their own... reminds be a bit of Brain Dead). Why not other kind of undead? And zombies themselves are just reanimated flesh or a spirit moving the body like a puppet? Once flesh rots, only the skeleton would remain so it's important to know.

 

For the scary part, looks are not as important as the use of the undead. Having some proper looks is important but not matter how scary that look is, if not used in proper situations, it won't matter that much. The most scary thing is the lack of knowledge about something. Not knowing how that zombies infestation started or how to stop it should be more scary that "Oh! Rotting flesh!!!". Having to deal with a corpless spirit while not knowing how to deal with it, should be scary. That it uses white or black sheets is irrelevant. Knowing that the PC/NPCs in the party are not immune to whatever "curse" afflcts the undead should be scary ("Oh, hi, Cadegund! How is your zombification going on?").

 

I kind of dig that Pokemon idea. To a point. Use the spirits as summons, to enchant stuff,...

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Personally I think the idea of a remnant of the corpses soul being used to animate the Undead is a very nice idea and makes it morally questionable, as well as the destruction of such things becoming a holy duty to some ethical standpoints. To tear a soul from the wheel of birth, death and re-birth in such a world as Poe seems eminently wrong, but something that may well happen, especially considering the Animat factories. Perhaps the Engwithan's had a far different moral take on this however, and that clashes with modern colonial attitudes in the Dyrwood, a possible spot of contention between the Glenfathan's and Aedyrean settlers? Or perhaps the Glenfathan's are protecting the Engwithan ruins for this very reason, because they judge it as a contained evil?

 

It certainly raises many interesting questions, and makes the traditional Necromancer a far more interesting character. Perhaps such a character can heal flesh through stealing the flickering remains of souls, a disgusting practice but called for when mankind faces his mortality and will do anything?

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I'd like it if you simply can't kill things that are already dead, for obvious reasons.

 

Maybe it would need a cleric with holy water or whatever passes for a crucifix in the world of PE to hold them off, maybe there could be some way of tricking them into thinking they have died again (they are unlikely to be the sharpest tools in the box), maybe you could chuck a sack over them and tie it up, maybe you need to find whatever it is that is the source of the power animating them.

 

...or maybe you could use the time honoured tradition of "RUN AWAAAAY!"

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Where I find Vampires in BG series were well thought out and characterised pretty well, I find the Liches lacked most of that, granted they looked cool and were awesome to battle, but they lacked in the character department.

 

In fact most of the Liches were silent enemies with no apparent lore behind them - please correct me if I'm wrong I'm a few years overdue on another playthrough!

 

Undead, and especially the likes of Vampires and Liches should either be exasperated with the prolonged life they have lived, driven mad by the condition, be power-hungry nihilists, or perhaps even be autotheist.

 

At least those would be the main directions I would like to see, and a variation would be ideal.

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What happened to undead being the stuff of nightmares?

[ snip ]

Even at higher levels they were not something to be ignored as trash in a fight. And, while they weren't wizards of legend, their special abilities made them a high priority: level drain, attribute drain, aging, magical disease, silence, death magic, mind-control (possession) etc. Not only that, but you sometimes needed special weapons to even hurt them.

 

An enemy that is hard to fight/win against is not scary of itself. That's just a tough fight. If there's a huge penalty for death in a game (like losing actual gear if you end up being unable to win/get your corpse/whatever...) then tough fights become sweaty-palm scary in a stressful sort of way. So if what you really want is just tense/hard combat with undead (vs them being fodder), I think that's a valid complaint. Being scary, tho...

 

To be honest, I've never found ghosts scary simply because they're ghosts. Or zombies (most zombies I laugh at, they're not scary at all). Or any of that. Doesn't matter how they're drawn - sometimes the seemingly innocuous can actually be more "scary" upon the reveal of their scary actions/intents. It's also difficult to make them artistically scary in this type of game, I think - in terms of seeing them as you play - because of figure size. Hard to be scared of a small figure on your screen that isn't in-your-face.

 

Scary encounters comes from nervous anticipation of not knowing what's around the corner and being surprised in spite of yourself even when you know something's coming. It comes from area atmosphere, light/music/tonal/sound cues we've been trained all our media-absorbing lives to tense up when we hear/see them, and, imo, most importantly, from the fear of having something to lose. Of course, what level/how much that individuals may require before they feel scared is...individualistic. :)

 

An enemy (any type) that can lulz kill you in a few hits or something, just because they have awesome kill powers, is not scary. A challenge (or an irritation, depending on PoV) but not scary. :)

 


“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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And that's exactly the problem with modern games and movies, as I've said before. All the fights are regular monster fights even if a bit tough and they can't make you scared. Writers nowadays have to rely on the element of suprise. They may make you a bit startled the first time, but this is not fear. Afterwards you will be ready for it and won't even flinch.

 

The very definition of undead is they are already dead so you can't kill them. Let's say that your quest is to cleanse a tomb full of spirits. That would require to renew the seal deep inside. You can't hurt spirits themselves, but they can hurt you. You journey to the tomb and as soon as you step inside you feel unwelcome. You have to avoid all the spirits trying to hurt you and cursing at you with horrible sounds all the while trying to desperately reach the seal as soon as possible.

 

It could be argued that the key factor here is quick decision making, not fear. But nothing really scares people of the information era.

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The only game that "sacred" me to the point of making it almost unbearable to play for very long was System Shock 2. I don't know if it would do the same to me now, but at the time...yeah. It was the unrelenting tension factor, like seeing the movie Alien for the first time way back when.

 

One of the mistakes some games make is the idea that darkness/low visibility is inherently scary. Not true.

 

And I'd agree that a lot of that sort of thing only works the first time (maybe twice or a few times even). After that you know, so it doesn't work. But that's sort of the nature of average fear -repetition breeds contempt - and can't be helped.

 

I think the OP's partial point, tho, about the undead having become just the cannon-fodder of most games is valid. Skeletons/zombies seem to be the next thing up from rats and it'd be nice to see a game step away from that. I'm not, however, sure I'd like unkillable undead/enemies (if they can do damage to me) - unless there was also a way to mostly avoid them. But then it becomes more of a stealth-game or something.

 

Borderlands2 DLC had a skeleton enemy that would go down, but then keep rising up again unless you ran up to it and pulled some mystical sword out of its back. Something like that can work ok...and helps some with the "ranged is overpowered" issue as well.


“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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Well. for your typical cannon fodder you have some ruffians on the road, "Incompetent Soldiers of Evil Empire"® and so on.

 

Just think of it: it is undead!!! You can not use tools designed to take life from target (e. g. weapons) against something which does not have life anymore (or never had it). It is only natural that undead should be nearly indestructible and this fact will not turn the game in some sort of stealth-game.

 

To put it simple: if one want to deal with undead (s)he should prepare accordingly. Sword should not be an universal answer to anything (aka "if you meet Cthulhu -- kill Cthulhu").

Edited by Alm888

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I liked the vampires in bodhis hideout (bg2) because they weren't dead even when you defeated them in battle. You had to stake them to actually get rid of them.

 

I think enemies which you can only partially defeat until you enter their sanctuary would probably work. Would ensure the player wasn't careless if zombies or skeletons could be reanimated due to the magic in a sacred space. Imagine the freakout if you see bones slowly moving back together and remending themselves into skeletons the longer you were in a location like that. Not one at a time but all of them at once. In the movie Dead Snow nazi zombies could reanimate and were relentless enemies.

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I'm personally hoping that Pillars of Eternity will use somewhat different undead, like say, dismembered limbs like heads and hands and feet crawling and jumping towards their target. Such weak undead could provide a different flavor, and who knows, maybe even a bit of macabre comedy. 

 

Or something like a dead tree, come alive through some soul trapped in it or something, that slashes at the living with rotting vines and such. And as others have stated, ghosts that don't appear physically would be more welcome than the common see-through character models. 

 

My main point being that I wish to see something else than the traditional skeletons and zombies, and I believe that with breaking that pattern, the scary effect and other good things when it comes to undead are easier to achieve. 


Dude, I can see my own soul.....

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Or something like a dead tree, come alive through some soul trapped in it or something, that slashes at the living with rotting vines and such.

The second adventure book from "Escape from the Kingdom of Frome" had some kind of flesh eating trees with blood-red leaves. As a child, I found that quite disturbing.

Edited by Wintersong
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I do believe that you might be in luck when it comes to sentient fauna, I seem to remember Mr Sawyer or one of the other developers stating that the Engwithan's were experimenting with the souls of the oldest of Dyrwood trees. From the look of the second city that we are shown, Twin Elm's, I think it's highly probable that we might witness this first hand.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Sentient fauna; you guys/gals must of seen evil dead 1 and 2 am I right?

 

I liked the tree in sleeping hollow which had human heads inside, yuck.

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I'm not a fan of undead, They bore me as a trope. uninspired trashmobs, unoriginal to the extreme, and they make no sense. Reanimated corpses? How are they a threat? how about you walk away? How do they survive without rotting to pieces? Are the bacteria which eat of it also infected? Zombies make no sense. pff.

But since they're going to be in, I'm going to see if I can satisfy you guys by making a few in the monster thread. Mid range monsters.

 

And you should focus on what makes them different. I think I have an idea

Edited by JFSOCC

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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I do believe that you might be in luck when it comes to sentient fauna flora, I seem to remember Mr Sawyer or one of the other developers stating that the Engwithan's were experimenting with the souls of the oldest of Dyrwood trees. From the look of the second city that we are shown, Twin Elm's, I think it's highly probable that we might witness this first hand.

Corrected and motion for carnivorous flora is thirded and the motion is passed.  Ironmaws, blood thorns, razor vine: interesting plants in Planescape.

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http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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Thank you Tsuga, that's been bugging me since an hour after I wrote it.


Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I do believe that you might be in luck when it comes to sentient fauna flora, I seem to remember Mr Sawyer or one of the other developers stating that the Engwithan's were experimenting with the souls of the oldest of Dyrwood trees. From the look of the second city that we are shown, Twin Elm's, I think it's highly probable that we might witness this first hand.

Corrected and motion for carnivorous flora is thirded and the motion is passed.  Ironmaws, blood thorns, razor vine: interesting plants in Planescape.

 

 

This is actually a fantastic idea, can even imagine a whole area, or interconnected areas dealing with such a threat.

 

In fact Wasteland 2 beta has the Agricultural Centre where carnivorous flora have a great role, and is definitely terrifyingly awesome. Make this happen Obsidian, and make them 'intelligent' flora! 

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